Greg's bite: Netgear's CEO rants
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Greg's bite: Netgear's CEO rants

By Greg Mills

Wow, can you still make wine with sour grapes? I read an article published in an Australia-based publication with an interview with Netgear CEO Patrick Lo. Lo ranted and raved about the impending doom of Apple due to "closed up products." Translated from Australian, he means it really ticks him off that Netgear is locked out of much of the Apple market.

He attacks Apple CEO Steve Jobs personally for making business decisions that Lo laments as "dominating the market and shutting out competitors" more as an ego thing rather than a smart business decision. Ouch, what terrible thing to do to your poor competitors. To add insult to injury, it seems Jobs wouldn't return his phone calls. He states that "Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to to open up the platform".  

First of all, Steve Jobs is just sick, not dead, and we can be sure he is dealing with his illness with every bit of intelligence modern medical care can provide. We wish him good health and long life, despite the nasty nay sayers.  

Personally, my only contact with the word Netgear is the occasional Wi-Fi connection that is still named "Netgear" by default when people don't personalize their network with some original name like, "WifI" or "network." (Naming WiFi networks is something I ought to do a story on.)  As with many of the tech companies languishing in the bitter cold winter of discontent in the PC world, but a winter wonderland for Apple, PC companies are seeing Apple's products cut into their sales as Apple grows dramatically in every category.

Interestingly, Lo hasn't really thought out his sage advice for Apple. He states that Google's Android, which I think has peaked, will outgrow the Apple iOS platform due to the latter being closed.  Closed to whom? Closed to the likes of Netgear. He goes on to list examples that he hopes will force Apple to open up to the PC hardware makers of the world.  

Lo says Apple's closed model only works because, in many product categories like MP3 players, "they own the market." He thinks the smartphone market is due for a change as the Android OS will continue to overtake the iPhone and the Apple iOS.  He hopes Google will provide the vehicle to run down the run-away Apple in the mobile market. His theory is based upon the history of closed systems where open systems have prevailed. Ironically, he considers the Windows PC an example of an open system. The only thing Windows is open for is malware to fly in. Bad example Lo.

Then he mentions the Betamax vs VHS saga as proof closed systems don't prevail. He fails to remember Betamax video decks made by other companies than Sony. Betamax was licensed but open for the right share of the money.  

Lo admits that so far "the closed platform has been successful for Apple because they've been so far ahead as thought leaders because of Steve Jobs." The implication being that Apple's sole reason for success is Jobs while ignoring the contributions of Ives and the rest of the brain trust at Apple.  

Lo goes on to predict that the Android OS will become the de facto standard for a range of consumer electronic devices, such as TV's and home media servers. Lo ought to have his attorneys read up on Apple's patent portfolio -- that is only partly issued so far. Android's days may be numbered Mr. Lo.

The oracle of wisdom also thinks Apple trashed Adobe Flash over Steve's ego rather than technical reasons. Lo also threw a few bards at Microsoft stating that the Windows Phone 7 would languish behind Android and Apple. He stated that "Microsoft is over-game over from my point of view".  

He thinks his company's new methane powered Wi-Fi network booster product has seen a minor sales boom due to people taking their Apple iPad with them into the bathroom. Gee, be grateful for small favors, Mr Lo.  In some backwards parts of the county, hillbilly zones such as all of Tennessee, the Missouri Ozarks and Arkansas, the super doper long range Netgear WiFi routers are required to reach clear to the outhouse, which might be downwind a good bit for sanitary reasons and the lack of electrical power. Using iPad in the bathroom might well save Netgear, if they can just tap that niche market.  

That's Greg's Bite for today 

(Greg Mills is currently a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Married, with one daughter still at home, Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's web sites at . He can be emailed at gregmills.mac.)


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